I had the great fortune of attending Literary Orange on Saturday in Garden Grove. As a writer, it was a wonderful opportunity to be inspired and to learn from others. I also had the opportunity to meet published writers and became interested in genres I hadn’t considered before.
For example, I never gave a second thought to romance novels until I met Mary Castillo, who sat at my table during lunch. I then realized that I include romances in almost all of my work. So, I checked out the romance panel that she was on, which offered great advice about writing in general as well as writing romance.
One of the highlights was attending a panel about screenwriting with Stephen J. Cannell. He produced many of the hit TV shows from the seventies and eighties, including The Rockford Files and The A Team. Cannell is also a prolific novel writer with a new novel, At First Sight, coming in July. He said that he uses a similar plot structure for novels as he does for screenplays.
The most inspirational part of the day was a lunchtime keynote by Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint It Black. Her speech was filled with wonderful quotes about writing. She said, “People become writers because they find themselves in books.” She added that books enabled readers a “way of popping out of the limitations of human experience” and experience the lives of different people. “The world becomes bigger for you,” she said, “so that we can reject less of life and become more with it.”
As I left Literary Orange on Saturday afternoon, I certainly felt that my perspectives on writing became bigger. It inspired me to get back to my laptop and start writing again.